Publisher: NAL Trade
Year Published: 2013
Vera Abramowitz is determined to leave her gritty childhood behind and live a more exciting life, one that her mother never dreamed of. Bobbing her hair and showing her knees, the lipsticked beauty dazzles, doing the Charleston in nightclubs and earning the nickname “Dollface.”
As the ultimate flapper, Vera captures the attention of two high rollers, a handsome nightclub owner and a sexy gambler. On their arms, she gains entrée into a world filled with bootleg bourbon, wailing jazz, and money to burn. She thinks her biggest problem is choosing between them until the truth comes out. Her two lovers are really mobsters from rival gangs during Chicago’s infamous Beer Wars, a battle Al Capone refuses to lose.
The heady life she’s living is an illusion resting on a bedrock of crime and violence unlike anything the country has ever seen before. When the good times come to an end, Vera becomes entangled in everything from bootlegging to murder. And as men from both gangs fall around her, Vera must put together the pieces of her shattered life, as Chicago hurtles toward one of the most infamous days in its history, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
I'm torn on this one - Vera Abramowitz bothered me throughout this novel. There were times where I despised her, when she was needy, dependent on others and down right childish. I couldn't stand her wishy-washy ways, her woe is me ... I'm sleeping with two guys of rival gangs ... what am I going to do?! Ugh! It became so irritating. Then there was the worrying about everybody herself, her daughter, her mother, her husband, her lover, and every other character in the book, but yet, she rarely did anything to change the circumstances and on the rare occasion that she did, she ended up in over her head and needed someone to come and bail her out. All that being said, however, there were other times were I found myself feeling sorry for her and even liking her. I found my opinion of her changing throughout the novel, I liked her more in the later third of the novel. She grew up, she became tough and independent. She was definitely a very frustrating character.
Now on to the parts I loved; I loved all of the gritty parts of the novel. The details of the time period - the dancing, the the music, the flappers ... add to that all of the bootlegging of liquor during Prohibition, the raids, the guns and of course the gangsters. I loved how the book really captured the times, the lifestyle, the dangers - clearly a lot of time and love went into the research for this novel. The details about the St. Valentine's Day massacre, the role that notorious gangster Al Capone played in it - awesome. This story made me want more of the roaring 20s!